Coverage: CSN Houston
8:00 PM ET, March 13, 2013
Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Rockets' Donatas Motiejunas scores career-high 19 in rout of Suns
HOUSTON -- A night of reminders from Houston's recent past ended with a big win for the Rockets.
Luis Scola had four points and four rebounds for Phoenix in his first game in Houston since the Rockets designated him as their amnesty cut last summer. And point guard Aaron Brooks got his first action since returning to the Rockets after Sacramento waived him on March 1.
"He took some of my little cheers, man," Brooks said. "I wish he could've come back another time."
Goran Dragic, another former Rocket, had 11 points and four assists for the Suns. Dragic signed a four-year, $30 million contract with Phoenix in the offseason after averaging 11.7 points and 5.3 assists in 66 games for Houston in 2011-12.
It was also the first game for Marcus Morris here since the Rockets traded him to Phoenix just before the deadline. Morris had five points and a blocked shot.
But Scola had the spotlight, drawing loud cheers when he was introduced and waving to acknowledge a standing ovation after a video tribute played on the giant scoreboard.
"I didn't really have a good angle, but it was really touching," said Scola, who played five seasons in Houston before signing with the Suns last July. "It was emotional to come here. I was really proud to be a part of the Rockets for those five years."
As for the game's outcome, Houston took care of that by outscoring the Suns 32-17 in the third quarter.
The Rockets led 58-45 at halftime, then continued to find room inside after the break. Chandler Parsons blocked a shot and then finished a fast break with a layup. Scola fouled him at the rim and Parsons sank the free throw to stretch Houston's lead to 17.
Houston finished with 26 assists on 39 field goals.
"We were moving the ball, sharing the ball," said Houston point guard Jeremy Lin, who had 13 points and six assists. "You could look across (the statistics) and see we had great distribution among the scoring. That's usually a great sign of transition buckets, as well as sharing the ball offensively."
Parsons had one of the highlights of the night when he slammed home Harden's alley-oop feed for a 76-56 lead with 5:46 still left in the third quarter. Harden found Greg Smith open underneath for another easy dunk three minutes later as Houston pulled away. Motiejunas drove past Michael Beasley for a hook shot to set a new career high in the last minute of the quarter.
"It's not really important for me, my career high," Motiejunas said. "I'm thinking more about team victories."
Wesley Johnson scored 10 of his 15 points in the first quarter for the Suns, who lost to Houston for just the fourth time in the last 14 meetings. The Suns mustered only 36 points in the second half.
"That's probably the first time I felt we didn't compete as a unit and that is just unacceptable," Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said. "It's embarrassing."
Houston had all five starters in double figures for the 11th time this season.
Phoenix led 43-38 when the Rockets launched a 15-0 run, finished by Asik's dunk, for a 53-43 lead. Markieff Morris scored inside at the other end to end a four-minute scoring drought for the Suns. Harden scored on a drive and sank a 3-pointer to put Houston up 58-45 at the break. Harden and Lin had 24 points together in the first half.
The game in hand midway through the fourth quarter, the crowd started chanting for Brooks, a first-round pick by Houston in 2007. He checked into the game with 5:02 remaining and prompted one of the loudest cheers of the night when he sank a 3-pointer.
"It felt good to be back," Brooks said. "It felt good to be loved again."
Suns C Jermaine O'Neal played after missing four games to be with his daughter, who had successful heart surgery earlier this week. ... Dragic had three steals and now has at least one steal in 50 of 63 games this season. ... The Rockets went 10-for-21 from 3-point range and have hit at least 10 3-pointers in 39 games this season. ... Asik started after he was listed as a "game-time" decision with a groin injury.
HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 13: Chandler Parsons #25 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball against Luis Scola #14 of the...(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Donatas Motiejunas led the Rockets with a career-high 19 points, finishing on easy baskets in transition and making corner 3-pointers look like layups. The 7-foot rookie also delivered a beautiful behind-the-back bounce pass to Omer Asik in the first quarter, resulting in a dunk. That play alone deserved MVP honors.
That was quick: With 5:37 left in the second quarter, Houston trailed Phoenix by five points. The Rockets closed the half on a 20-2 run, behind quick 3-pointers and relentless aggression at the rim. The rout was on after that.
X factor: The free-throw line. Houston spent the night attacking the rim, getting into the paint at will and drawing contact. The Rockets attempted 30 free throws. Phoenix did none of those things, and took only 10.
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